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Google Reader audio and Google Read

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With one shut down and the other not as popular as intended, let’s see which alternative to Google’s text-to-speech tools is the best.

Table of Contents

Over the years, there were several Google apps that would work as screen readers for people with learning disabilities. The first major tool was Google Reader Audio. It was an RSS feed aggregator that would allow people to listen to news articles and blogs. However, due to a lack of popularity, it was shut down back in 2013.

Since the need for text to speech tools never went away, and Reader Audio failed due to its inadequacies, Google put out a new TTS app — Google Read Aloud. In the following text, we’ll look into it to find out why so many people are turning to other apps of similar purpose. We’ll also mention the best text to speech add-on for the Chrome browser.

What is Google Read and what are its features

In short, Google Read is an extension for their very own web browser — Google Chrome. As such, it’s a text to speech tool only available on computers and Android devices. Still, the main idea behind Google Read is nothing new. It reads written content on web pages to users with dyslexia, ADHD, brain injury, and vision impairment.

The main strengths are surely in the number of languages it supports. You can use Google Read for English, German, Spanish, and 40 other tongues. Besides that, the tool also offers a variety of speech voices. These include the ones the extension itself offers and others from text-to-speech cloud services like Google Wavenet, Amazon Polly, and Microsoft Azure.

Another pro of this tool is that it’s easy to use for listening to PDF files, Google Docs articles, and EPUB formats, and to bookmark passages. All you need to do is go to Chrome’s web store and add it to your browser. There’s no hustle in installing and using it. You simply select the text you want it to read and click on the Read Aloud icon in the toolbar.

Alternative text to speech Chrome extensions

Sure enough, Google Read is an okay extension. It does the basics well enough so that most users with reading difficulties can enjoy written content. However, aside from the basics, it can’t do much else. What’s more, it’s only a Google Chrome extension, which makes it unavailable for use on other browsers like Firefox or Safari.

All this makes users who require text to speech plug-ins look for alternatives. Luckily, there are countless TTS apps out there. From free to premium, you can find almost anything you need if you look hard enough. But if you want the best, you should seek out Speechify.


In a sea of text to speech apps and plug-ins, Speechify sets itself apart from the rest. This is due to it being high-quality API and versatility. Its speech synthesis is based on three components—optical character recognition (OCR), artificial intelligence, and machine learning. With these, Speechify easily transcribes any writing into speech.

Speechify offers more than 30 different natural-sounding voices, all of which sound like professional narrators of bestselling audiobooks. And to take things even further, it works in over 15 languages. But that’s not all. Due to its OCR component, it allows users to snap photos of written text and turn it into speech, just as it would with digital text.

Sure enough, we’re here talking about text to speech extensions for Google Chrome. However, Speechify is also available for Safari, making it essential for iOS and macOS users who prefer Apple’s web browser. And if you want it on your Android smartphone or tablet, you can easily download it from Google Play Store.

Benefits of using TTS readers

Before we conclude, we should mention why would anyone want to use text to speech extensions in the first place. Well, in essence, TTS tools exist to serve people with reading difficulties. These include dyslexics, people with attention disorders, those with brain injuries, as well as those with poor vision.

Studies over the years suggest that listening improves material comprehension and reading speed. As such, text to speech apps are perfect for students with reading difficulties. On the other hand, they are quite handy for those learning a foreign language, allowing them to understand the proper pronunciation. Still, there’s even more.

Being able to listen instead of reading gives people the opportunity to multitask. For example, you can use Speechify to read aloud new articles for you while you do your chores. Similarly, it’s also possible to turn a digital copy of your favorite book and enjoy it while you take a cross-country drive.

You don’t need to be lazy and not enjoy reading. You can be a bookworm and still use Speechify. It’s not about whether reading or listening is better. It’s only about what’s more convenient for you at the given moment. As such, adding Speechify to Chrome should be on your list of priorities if you want something more than Google Read.


How do I get google to read out loud?

Whenever a web article is displayed on your Android phone’s browser, you can say: “Hey Google, read it or “Hey Google, read this page,” and it will immediately read aloud the content of the web page. To help you follow along, your browser will automatically scroll the page and highlight the words as they are read aloud.

What is Google Voice used for?

Google Voice gives you a phone number for calls, texts, and voicemails. You can use this number to make domestic and international calls from your web browser and mobile devices. 

What happened to Google Read-Aloud?

In an attempt to make their services a bit more accessible to a wider range of people, Google ended up creating a feature that enabled users to have articles on Google News as well as any general web page read aloud to them.

Can Google Chrome read text aloud?

To make Google Chrome read text aloud to you, open any website and highlight the text you want Google Chrome to read. Right-click on the highlighted text and click on the “Read aloud selected text” pop-up option that comes up. It will read the entire text for you and the rest of the article if you want it to.

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